November 12th, 2018

Bargain Finder 164: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Kentucky Gun Co. — T/C Compass Rifle $209.99 After Rebate

Kentucky Gun Thompson Center T/C rifle discount rebate

How would you like to get a proper hunting rifle for $209.99? That’s not a misprint. Right now Kentucky Gun Company is selling Thompson Center (T/C) Compass rifles for $259.99 in seven popular chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, .308 Winchester, and .30-06 Springfield. But it gets even better — these rifles qualify for a $50.00 T/C factory rebate. That lowers your net cost for the T/C Compass to $209.99 — less than you might pay for a barrel alone. This rifle is perfectly capable of harvesting game, and carries a strong factory warranty backed by Smith & Wesson. Put the dollars you save into optics and ammo.

2. Bruno’s — Norma 6mm Dasher Brass (Gen 2) $114.95/100

Norma 6mm Dasher brass cartridge cases Bruno Shooters supply Bruno's

The 6mm Dasher was originally a wildcat cartridge. To make Dasher brass you had to fire-form (or hydro-form) 6mmBR brass. That all changed a couple years ago when Shiraz Balolia (of Grizzly.com) signed a deal with Norma to produce rifle-ready 6mm Dasher brass. Norma’s Dasher brass features a longer neck offering more seating flexibility (and slightly more capacity). The latest Dasher brass is very good — capable of winning benchrest matches. If you have an older Dasher chamber, just trim the necks. Thanks to Lester Bruno, Norma Dasher brass is now available again. This is premium GEN 2 Dasher brass with the standard rim thickness. We believe Bruno’s is now the exclusive supplier of Norma Dasher brass. The brass is in the USA and will ship soon. Get this Norma-made 6mm Dasher Brass while you can. Price is $114.95 per 100 pieces. Factor in the savings (in bullets, powder, and time) by avoiding fire-forming, and you see why this brass is very popular.

3. TCK LLC — LabRadar Chronograph $60 Off Nov. 15 – Dec. 9

LabRadar Radar Doppler chronograph summer sale $50 off chrono lab-radar Bruno shooters Creedmoor

If you’ve been wanting to get a LabRadar Chronograph, here’s your chance. Starting Thursday 11/15/2018, you can save $60 on this very advanced piece of technology — probably the most sophisticated chronograph system ever offered to the general public. That’s notable because you almost never see this discounted below the $559.95 MAP price. Get the LabRadar for $499.95 with this Special Sale which starts on November 15 and extends through December 9, 2018. NOTE: you may be able to get the same deal from other vendors such as Creedmoor Sports, Bruno Shooters Supply, and Midsouth Shooters Supply, but you need to check. Right now we can only confirm the deal through TCK LLC on BuyMyLabradar.com. Check with other vendors on 11/15/18.

4. 21st Century Shooting — 10% Off with Code FALLNOV10

21st Century Shooting Fall november 10% off discount code

21st Century Shooting offers some of the best precision loading tools on the market. Our editors own and use many 21st Century products, including neck-turning lathe, concentricity gauge, hydro bullet seater (arbor press), and priming tool. You’ll also see these tools in the reloading rooms of National and World Champion shooters. Now you can get this world-class 21st Century gear at a significant discount. Through the end of November, save 10% off many 21st Century products with CODE FALLNOV10. Use that code at check-out. When you’ve filled out your order, type the code in the Coupon Field, then click the button labeled “Redeem Coupon”. That will confirm “10% off all online orders”.

5. Field Supply — Nikon Refurbished Scopes up to 65% Off

Nikon refurbished scopes deal Field Supply

You won’t find a better deal on Nikons anywhere. These are Nikon-certified, factory-refurbished scopes. This is a good choice if you’re looking for big-name quality at rock-bottom prices. Good option for a hunting or varmint rifle. The savings on Nikon optics are up to 65% off retail. NOTE: all these Nikon refurbs have been refurbished to Nikon Factory specifications by Nikon, Inc. and are covered by a 90-day limited warranty. Sale refurb optics start at under $80.00.

6. MidwayUSA — Lyman 8-Station Turret Press, $159.99

lyman brass smith MidwayUSA 8-station all american turret press reloading

Right now you can get Lyman’s new All-American 8-station turret press for just $159.99. That’s a great price. This high-capacity turret press sells elsewhere for up to $229.99. The Lyman offers more die stations than the 6-station RCBS Turret and the 7-station Redding T-7. It also has a strong rear support that minimizes head flex. NOTE: Priming on the Lyman turret is done in the front; the image above shows the priming station but not the vertical tube which holds stacked primers.

7. RCBS — Save 25% on Select Dispenser/Scales, Progressive Presses, Prep Centers, and Ultrasonic Machines

RCBS 25% off sale November discount savings

RCBS wants you to “buy green” in November. Now through November 30, 2018 you can get 25% Instant Savings on a variety of RCBS’s most popular products, including the ChargeMaster Lite, ProChucker Progressive Presses, and both the Trim Mate and Universal Case Prep Centers. Ultrasonic cleaning machines are also discounted. This is easy-peasy — no forms to fill out and no waiting on rebates. Just shop at your favorite retailer, and you’ll find qualifying products 25% cheaper than last month.

Credit EdLongrange for finding this deal.

8. Midsouth — Tipton 13-Piece Jag set, $11.99

Midsouth Shooters supply tipton 17 6mm 22 .308 9mm 338 6.5mm .45 caliber jag kit

Here’s a great, budget-priced Jag Kit ideal for someone who shots many different calibers. This kit will cover just about any rifle or pistol bore size. Get 13 jags in a handy, clear-top fitted caddy for just $11.99. The kit covers everything from 17 caliber up to .45 caliber, with 17, 20, 22, 243/6mm, 25/6.5mm, 270/7mm, 30/32, 338/8mm, 35/9mm, 375, 40, 44, and 45 jags. The storage box features marked cavities for each caliber. The small .17 cal and .20 cal jags have a 5-40 threads, while all the remaining 11 larger jags have the standard 8-32 thread size.

9. GunBuyer — Mossberg 12ga Tactical Shotgun, $299.00

Mossberg model 500 20

A strong argument can be made that the best home defense firearm is a 12 gauge shotgun. This Mossberg 500 is a reliable 12ga pump-gun with useful upgrades including ghost-ring sights and barrel heat-shield. This Model 500 Tactical boasts an 8-shell capacity and weighs 7 pounds unloaded. Order now from GunBuyer.com for $299.00. Owners love this serious-looking shotgun: “This unit… fires smooth, and operates perfectly out of the box. There’s an odd beauty to the tactical pump that is hard to describe. The action is smooth and repeatable.”

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November 10th, 2018

The Moly Saga — Why Moly-Coating Has Fallen from Favor

Glen Zediker Molybdenum Moly bullets moly-coated Top Grade Ammo book Handloading Competition

Moly — yay or nay? Moly bullet-coating was all the rage in 1998 yet is all but dead in 2018. Glen Zediker, who has considerable experience with moly, provides some reasons why moly coating has fallen from favor.

The Pros and Cons of Moly Coating for Bullets

by Glen Zediker
In a way, I guess nothing really happened to molybdenum-disulfide-coated bullets (“moly-coated”). They’re still for sale, as are means to make up your own. What I mean is why didn’t they attain the sustained popularity they started with about 20 years ago, back when many forecasted they would virtually replace bare bullets? Here’s my take, from my experience, on “what happened.”

I don’t know any shooter who tried them and wasn’t excited about results. I sure was!

Performance-wise, moly has a lot of benefits. A lot. The first and most: take two bullets, one coated and one bare, put the same load behind them, then shoot and chronograph. The coated bullet goes slower. How is that a help? The reason it goes slower is because moly drops chamber pressure (into and through the bore easier). And! That velocity loss (at least 50 fps, usually more) is not, proportionately, nearly as much as the accompanying drop in pressure (usually ballpark 4000+ psi). (These figures vary with the cartridge, but all show similar universal influence.) So. The moly-load can be increased beyond previous “maximum” velocity: the idea is to take the coated load up to normal chamber pressure. It works! It’s common to need at the least 1+ grain more propellant to level the coated load with the original bare-bullet load.

Other advantages: Most see improved velocity consistency, evidently resulting from the coating alone. The coated bullets seem to have no limit to the number of rounds that can be fired with no change in accuracy or impact location. Of course there is a limit, but I knew many going beyond 500 rounds between cleanings. And when I say “many,” I’m talking about serious competitive shooters. Another benefit is increased barrel life (less rapid throat erosion), and this is, I think, due to a faster-accelerating bullet getting into and through the throat more quickly (less intense flame). Moly bullets also release easier from the case neck (additional “tension” is recommended).

I “switched.” (The motivation to write this came from a weekend shop-cleaning where I restacked many boxes of coated bullets, and wondered if I’d ever shoot them…)

I got more bullet speed and zero loss of zero — big benefits to an NRA High Power Service Rifle shooter. 88 rounds per day, and 80gr bullets through a 20-inch barrel trying their best to get to 600 yards in close proximity of one another.

Glen Zediker Molybdenum Moly bullets moly-coated Top Grade Ammo book Handloading Competition
Here was my solution to cleaning up after moly: Kroil penetrating oil and abrasive-type bore paste. This combination worked, and my zero didn’t change in the process.

Cleaning Barrels Used for Moly-Coated Bullets
What is bad, then, about moly-coated bullets? Moly itself! It coats the bore with a layer of residue. This layer traps moisture and will, not can, corrode the steel underneath it. More: molybdenum disulfide outgases (outgas is the release of an occluded gas vapor that was part of the compound; a state change, pretty much) at lower than firing temperatures. That creates a chemical that, when mixed with water (including post-firing condensation), becomes, pretty much, sulfuric acid. That meant that the whole “zillion rounds between cleanings” didn’t really work. I know many who “lost” barrels, expensive barrels.

If the barrel is cleaned (correctly) after each use, no problems. But then another advantage is lost because starting with a clean barrel it takes quite a few rounds to return to zero. The layer has to be recreated.

The residue is difficult to remove from the bore. It doesn’t respond to routine means for bore maintenance, mostly meaning brush-and-solvent. The only way I found to get it gone was using micro-penetrating oil in conjunction with an abrasive paste-type cleaner, such as USP Bore Paste or JB Bore Compound.

boron nitride moly coating
Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN) bullet coating is an alternative that functions, in my experience, well but with fewer drawbacks. First, BN is “clear”, not as messy. Bullet on the left is HBN coated. Still, though, I think that shooting coated bullets is an “all or nothing” proposition. Good groups are not likely to come “mixing” bare and coated bullets through the same barrel.

Using Coated Bullets Requires Commitment
I no longer use coated bullets. There are other coatings that have fewer disadvantages, such as Hexagonal Boron Nitride (doesn’t outgas). Some of the proprietary baked-on coatings a few major makers (such as Barnes and Winchester) use don’t exhibit the post-firing issues that “conventional” moly-coating creates (which usually was moly powder, followed by wax, which added to the tenacity of the residue).

However, another issue is that accuracy tends to suffer running bare bullets though a residue-coated bore (which results after only a few coated rounds, that are coated with anything). All that means, in short, is that running coated bullets is something that really has to be bought into. It’s a commitment, as I see it, and, as with many such things, pushing the limits on performance requires more attention to detail, more effort. It’s a matter of value.

Glen Zediker Molybdenum Moly bullets moly-coated Top Grade Ammo book Handloading Competition

Here’s an easy way to get bullets coated: Lyman’s Super Moly Kit. Just add a tumbler. The two bowls contain the media, moly, and bullets and then go into a vibratory-type tumbler. The 6 ounces worth of moly powder will coat thousands of bullets. It works well.

Deciding Whether to Use Coated Bullets
Weigh the pros and cons. I honestly cannot, and will not, tell anyone not to use coated bullets. Coating can provide a serious performance increase. I don’t use moly-coating anymore, but that’s because my shooting needs are not so “serious” as they once were. I, yes, have gotten a tad amount lazy. I want to go to the range and enjoy my rifles and not lose sleep over the possibility of creeping corrosion if I didn’t clean up. I also want to be able to shoot different loads, including factory ammo, and maintain accuracy.

CONCLUSION: IF you choose moly, take steps to protect the barrel bore against the potential for damage. At the least, run some petroleum-based oil through the bore after shooting if you can’t clean it soon.

See what Midsouth offers HERE.

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Read more informative articles in the Midsouth BLOG

Glen Zediker Molybdenum Moly bullets moly-coated Top Grade Ammo book Handloading Competition midsouth blog newsletter

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November 9th, 2018

Snakeskin Shooter for Santiago — Reptilian Eliseo R1 Rig

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dipA 7mm Snake for Santiago
Our friend Dennis Santiago has a reptilian rig in his arsenal. It’s actually an Eliseo R1 single-shot tubegun chambered in .284 Winchester. The eye-catching aspect of Santiago’s .284 bolt-gun is the snakeskin dip job on the exterior. This really creates a distinctive look. Dennis tells us: “It was Gary Eliseo’s idea to try a water-transfer printing finish for this rifle. There are many patterns to choose from — this is the WTP-260 Snakeskin Illusion-Fall Copper from WaterTransferPrinting.com. For a single shot LR gun, I figured something on the bright side would be interesting and pick up less heat from the sun in the summer.”

Dennis uses this eye-catching rifle in prone matches, where a single shot works fine. He says: “Underneath the hood, it’s a Rem 700 Long Action, chambered in .284 Win. Yes it’s a single shot! I don’t need anything else for a prone gun. Nothing to get in the way of building the perfect position.”

Dennis says: “Length of pull, offset and cast initially set the same as my similar RTS .308. My gun, my body dimensions.”
Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

R1 Testing with Advanced Electronic Shot-Plotting System
Now that winter is here, Dennis plans to do some serious load development with this rifle: “I acquired a new ShotMarker electronic target system. I’ll be using that to test a variety of powders and bullets.” Dennis has previously loaded his .284 Win R1 with Hodgdon H4831 powder, but he hopes to test alternatives from Alliant and IMR as well. There are many interesting 7mm bullet options, such as Sierra’s impressive, factory-pointed 183gr MatchKing with 0.707 G1 BC, and Berger’s new 184gr F-Open Target Hybrid with 0.695 G1 BC.

Shot-Marker shotmarker electronic target system acoustic target

The ShotMarker is a unique 8-sensor acoustic electronic target that instantly plots shot locations and transmits the data via WiFi to a mobile device. Dennis is eager to try his new Shot-Marker. The system can measure group size, velocity, and SD. The Shot-Marker App can then store your strings for later review, add notes to the target, and export data to spreadsheets.

Shot-Marker shotmarker electronic target system acoustic target

A FFP 6-24x50mm Sightron Rides on Top
The optic is a Sightron 6-24x50mm, FFP MOA-2. Dennis reports: “I looked at many scopes (within my determined price range), and this is the one that had the best combination of features for for this gun’s particular application. The sight line sits about 3 inches above bore line on these guns. It’s been leveled, bore-sighted and pre-dialed for a 200-yard estimated zero for the ammo I plan to use. Those are Gen II A.R.M.S. rings. Super easy to tailor to different rail widths. Same rock-steady steel performance.”

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

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November 8th, 2018

Great Accuracy — Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel and Creedmoor Ammo

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Check out that 0.188″ group. Can you believe that was shot with factory .308 Win ammo? A couple seasons ago our friends at Criterion Barrels tested some .308 ammo from Creedmoor Sports. This was loaded with Lapua’s 175gr Scenar HPBT bullet. The results speak for themselves. Any time factory ammo can shoot inside quarter-MOA, that’s impressive. This ammo was used in a “Rem/Age” project rifle. That term refers to a Remington action rifle that has been re-barreled with a pre-fit Criterion barrel. The new barrel is secured with a Savage-style barrel nut. Hence the term “Rem/Age” or “Rem-Age”.

shooting target accurateshooter load developmentCriterion posted: “I think we may have a new favorite factory match load for the nitrided Rem/Age build.” Another reader added: “[Creedmoor’s] 175 Scenar .308 ammunition is top notch.” FYI, this group was shot on our load development target, which you can download for free from our Targets Page.

Why do Criterion barrels shoot so well? One reason is that Criterion’s barrel steel is carefully stress-relieved. In the photo below, Criterion Rack 1A (aka the “Coffin”) has been loaded with barrel blanks — made ready for the stress-relieving process.

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Working with Pre-Fit Barrels
While they may require the purchase of some additional tools and a bit of a learning curve to install, using Rem/Age pre-fit barrels offer advantages over gunsmith chambering and barrel-fitting. In this video, 8541 Tactical explains how to install a Criterion 6.5 Creedmoor “pre-fit” barrel. You save money and time — you don’t have to wait for a gunsmith to chamber the barrel. While Criterion recommends that a competent gunsmith oversee the pre-fit installation, if you understand the use of go/no-go gauges and you have a barrel vise and action wrench set up to remove the original barrel, putting on a pre-fit barrel CAN be a DIY project. You don’t have to pack up your rifle to ship it off to a smith.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
November 5th, 2018

Bargain Finder 163: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. RCBS — Save 25% on Select Dispenser/Scales, Progressive Presses, Prep Centers, and Ultrasonic Machines

RCBS 25% off sale November discount savings

RCBS wants you to “buy green” in November. Now through November 30, 2018 you can get 25% Instant Savings on a variety of RCBS’s most popular products, including the ChargeMaster Lite, ProChucker Progressive Presses, and both the Trim Mate and Universal Case Prep Centers. Ultrasonic cleaning machines are also discounted. This is easy-peasy — no forms to fill out and no waiting on rebates. Just shop at your favorite retailer, and you’ll find qualifying products 25% cheaper than last month.

Credit EdLongrange for finding this deal.

2. CDNN — Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis 6.5cm, $899.99

Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis Sale

Looking for an out of the box sub-MOA rifle for under $1000? CDNN has the Weatherby Vanguard Chassis Rifle on sale for $899.99. This features a Vanguard action affixed to a CNC-machined, 6061 aluminum chassis with a black, hard-anodized finish in two great calibers for only $899.99. You can also pick up the .223 Rem version $899.99 as well. This price probably won’t last long so grab it while you can.

3. Natchez — Burris MTAC 4.5-14x42mm Scope, $219.99

Burris MTAC Scope Sale

Need a practical mid-power, milrad scope at 60% off? Here’s a deal you don’t want to pass up. Natchez has the Burris MTAC 4.5-14x42mm tactical scope for just $219.99. The scope’s Ballistic Milling Reticle is a milrad-based reticle with .5 mil and 1 mil hash marks on the horizontal crosshair and top half of the vertical crosshair. These hash marks allow for precise distance measurement, and assist in proper hold-off for wind. At a savings of nearly $330, this is a steller optics bargain for anyone looking for a milrad scope.

4. Amazon — RCBS Partner Press, $79.99

RCBS Partner Press Sale

Wish you had a partner when you reload? Now you do when you pick up this RCBS Partner Press from Amazon for just $79.99. The Partner Press is easy to use and incredibly durable, yet is the most affordable press in the RCBS line. It’s perfect as a second press for different operations or a portable press for use at the range. You can also pick up an entire RCBS Master Reloading Kit on Amazon for $319.49

5. Bruno’s — CCI BR-4 Small Rifle Benchrest Primers, $47.95

CCI BR-4 Primer Sale

Screaming deal? Well, no. But when you need them you’ll wish you had stocked up at this price. Bruno’s has the hard-to-find CCI BR-4 small rifle primers marked down to $47.95. An independent researcher identified the use of CCI Benchrest primers as one of two factors that were the most significant contributors to tiny groups. If you’re not using these already and are looking to tighten your groups this just might be the answer. While not on sale you can also find the CCI BR-2 Large Rifle Primers for $54.60.

6. EuroOptic — Leica CRF 2000-B, $399.00

Leica 2000-B Rangemaster Laser LRF Rangefinder Sale Eurooptics.com

This may be the best deal we’ve seen on the vaunted Leica 2000-B Laser Rangefinder (LRF) with 7-power optic. This unit is rated out to 2000 yards on reflective objects (in real-world use it will laze a deer well past 800 if you can hold steady). The Leica 2000-B features air pressure and temperature sensors, plus on-board inclinometer. Angle correction works out to 1200 horizontal yards equivalent, with the true hold-over displayed in both MILs and MOA. The compact Leica CRF 2000-B weighs just 6.5 ounces and measures 4.5″ L x 2.25″ H x 1.25″ W. It has a waterproof outer shell.

7. Brownells — RCBS Trim Mate Case Prep Center, $93.99

RCBS Trim Mate Case Prep Center

Case prep can take forever, so why not save time and your hands with the Trim Mate Case Prep Center. Five gear-driven rotating heads turn the tasks of chamfering, deburring, primer pocket cleaning, military crimp removal, and flash hole deburring into a much easier job. Brownells now has the Trim Mate Case Prep Center on sale for just $93.99 marked down from $124.99, a 25% savings. A power case prep center speeds up tedious tasks dramatically, and your brass will probably come out more consistent. IMPORTANT: This savings is part of an RCBS November Promotion.

8. Midsouth — SALE on Nosler Bullets and Brass

Nosler match bullets brass midsouth sale

We like Nosler products. The brass is good, the hunting bullets are legendary, and Nosler match bullets display impressive performance for the price. Right now at Midsouth there are substantial discounts on a wide variety of Nosler brass and bullets. Hey 6.5 Creedmoor shooters — take note: 6.5 Creedmoor brass and the excellent 130gr and 140gr 6.5mm RDF HPBT bullets are on sale now.

9. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3000 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

10. Midsouth — 250 Adhesive Precision Targets on Roll, $12.49

midsouth adhesive benchrest precision target roll

Midsouth offers 250 self-adhesive Benchrest Targets on a convenient roll. These stick-on targets work great for load development. The aiming diamond helps align the cross hairs of your scope for consistent shot placement. If you set your Point of Impact to the 1/4″ grid pattern at the top it’s easy to eyeball your group size. At the bottom are fields for your load info. Each Target sticker measures 6″ x 4″ with a 4.5″ x 2.5″ printed area. Midsouth sells the 250-target roll for $12.49, discounted this week from $14.99.

Credit our Bargain Hunter, Forum member F-Class John, who found most of the deals this week.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 4th, 2018

Hornady Video Shows How Ammunition is Made

Hornady Manufacturing

Hornady ManufacturingIf you wonder how ammo is made, starting with raw metal, check out this video from Hornady. It shows how bullet jackets are formed from copper, followed by insertion of a lead core. The jacket is then closed up over the core with the bullet taking its final shape in a die (a cannelure is applied on some bullet types). Next the video shows how cartridge brass is formed, starting with small cups of brass. The last part of the video shows how cases are primed and filled with powder, and how bullets are seated into the cases, using an automated process on a giant assembly-line. CLICK Link below to watch video:

Ammo to Be Produced in New Hornady Factory
Hornady recently opened a new, state-of-the-art 150,000-sq-ft Hornady West Facility, featured in the video below. This will handle ammunition production and product distribution — Hornady produces millions of rounds annually. Hornady cartridge brass and bullets will continue to be produced at Hornady’s 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949, so next year (2019) marks the company’s 70th anniversary. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
November 3rd, 2018

Save Time and Bullets — Fire-Form with your Fouler Shots

PPC Fire-formingHere’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Joel currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

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November 2nd, 2018

Hornady Opens Second Nebraska Production Facility

Hornady Cornhusker ammo ammunition production facility plant Governor Nebraska

Hornady has opened a second production facility in Nebraska, 6 miles down the road from the main Hornady plant in Grand Island, NE. The new 150,000-square-foot production and shipping facility was christened with a ceremony featuring politicians and 1000 guests. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts commended Hornady during the facility’s grand opening, thanking the company for its significant investments in the state of Nebraska.

Hornady was founded by J.W. Hornady in 1949. The company started in a small shop on Fourth Street in Grand Island. Hornady opened its main plant just west of Grand Island in 1958. The new Hornady ‘West’ facility showcases the company’s growth over nearly 70 years. The Hornady West facility has already started shipping, with products heading out its doors in early October.

Hornady broke ground on the project in 2017 and finally unveiled Hornady West in late October. The 150,000 square-foot building will house Hornady ammunition production, packaging, and inspection, as well as the distribution center. Nestled on 320 acres on the former Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant, Hornady intends to augment the facility over time, eventually introducing R&D capabilities as well as other support services for production operations.

Bullet and Brass Production Unchanged
The new plant will produce loaded ammo. Hornady bullets and cartridge brass will continue to be made at Hornady headquarters in Grand Island. According to Guns.com: “The company has no intention of abandoning any current manufacturing facilities, instead just moving services such as ammo, loading, packaging and its distribution center to Hornady West.”

Big Time Investments in the Nebraska Economy
“Over the last five years, Hornady has spent nearly a half a billion dollars in Nebraska through payroll and all the other investments they make here in our state. They’ve, over the last several years, contributed $1.7 million to state and local charities. Again, continuing to invest to make Nebraska a great place,” said Governor Ricketts.

“We are extremely excited for this new building, this new facility. It’s a great operation for our employees,” V.P. Jason Hornady told local news outlet KSNB. “It is going to make us a far more efficient company.”

Founded in 1949, Hornady® Manufacturing Company is a family-owned business headquartered in Grand Island, Nebraska, that manufactures reloading tools, ammunition, bullets, shooting accessories, and security products.

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November 1st, 2018

Shooter’s Bible — Most Popular Gun Reference Book in History

Shooters Bible Book 110th edition October 2018 most popular

Q: What is the most popular gun book ever published?

A: That distinction goes to the Shooter’s Bible, which has sold over 7 MILLION copies since it was first published over 80 years ago.

Released last month (October 2018), the 110th Edition of this respected resource is bigger and better than ever. This latest Shooter’s Bible boasts 608 pages with 275 color photos and more than 1000 black-and-white photos. The new 110th Edition features many new firearms as well as new optics.

Published annually for more than eighty years, the Shooter’s Bible is perhaps the most comprehensive reference guide for firearms and their specifications. The publishers claim that “nearly every firearms manufacturer in the world” is included. The 110th Edition also contains new and/or enhanced sections on ammunition, optics, and accessories, along with updated handgun and rifle ballistic tables. There are also extensive charts of currently available hunting and match bullets for hand-loaders.

While many shooters are now using the internet to get reloading data and equipment specifications, the Shooter’s Bible remains a valuable resource with a great legacy. As one recent Shooter’s Bible purchaser explains: “While it’s true that much of the information contained in the Shooter’s Bible can be found on the Internet, there are many of us who would first rather relax in our easy chair and page through the book at our leisure. If you find an item that catches your fancy, you can then follow up by going to their Web site.”

Another buyer observed: “This latest edition is proof that, even with all the attacks on our 2nd Amendment right over the years, the industry has persevered and grown. I hope the day never comes when there will no longer be a reason to publish the Shooter’s Bible.”

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November 1st, 2018

How to Remove Primer Pocket Crimps from Fired Brass

Marksmanship Unit USAMU Army reloading primer pocket crimp milsurp brass reloading tip swage crimps

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) regularly releases a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Here’s a helpful USAMU guide on removing military primer pocket crimps. If you ever use surplus military brass, you really should this article. It contains vital information “learned the hard way”. The writer has tried many different options for removing/swaging out crimps. He weighs the pros and cons of various methods and provides some advice that will save you time and headaches. This article was the second in a 3-part series. Visit the USAMU Facebook page regularly for other informative articles on reloading methods.

A common question, and important issue with US GI surplus 5.56 brass is “what to do with the primer crimp?” Our Handloading Shop does not prime/re-prime GI 5.56 brass, as we receive it in virgin state (primed) and don’t reload it. However, our staff has extensive private experience handloading GI brass in our own competitive shooting careers, and have several tips to offer.

Once the brass is full-length sized and decapped, the staked-in ring of displaced metal from the primer crimp remains, and hinders re-priming. Some swaging tools exist to swage out this ring, allowing free access to the primer pocket. Some are stand-alone products, and some are reloading-press mounted. Early in this writer’s High Power career, he used the common press-mounted kit several times, with less than stellar results.

Setting Up Swaging Tools
Surplus brass tends to come from mixed lots, and primer crimp varies from very mild to strong. Also, primer pocket dimensions vary. So, setting up this “one size fits most” tool involves trying to find a happy medium for a selection of different types of brass in your particular lot. Some are over-swaged, some under-swaged, and some are “Just Right.” Overall, it was a time-consuming and sub-optimal process, in this writer’s experience.

Cutting Out the Crimp Ring with a Chamfer Tool
[After trying swaging tools] this writer evolved to using the ubiquitous Wilson/RCBS/Other brands chamfer and deburring tool to cut out only the displaced crimp ring at the top of the primer pocket. One caution: DON’T OVER-DO IT! Just a little practice will let the handloader develop a “feel” for the right degree of chamfer that permits easy re-priming without removing so much metal that primer edges start to flow under pressure. For this writer, it was three half-turns of the tool in the primer pocket, with medium pressure.

Here, as with all bulk reloading operations, mechanization is our friend. A popular reloading supply house has developed an inexpensive adaptor that houses the chamfer/deburr tool (retained by an allen screw) and allows mounting in a hand drill or drill press. This speeds the operation significantly, as does use of one of the popular Case Preparation Stations that feature multiple powered operations. (Say good-bye to carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis!)

military crimp removal USAMU

One advantage of chamfering the primer pockets lightly to remove remnants of primer crimp, vs. swaging, is that primer pockets are not loosened in this process. US GI (usually LC) NATO 5.56 brass has a great reputation for longevity due to the superior hardness of the case head vs. some softer brands of commercial brass. This means the brass will stand up well to multiple full-pressure loads without loosening primer pockets, and the chamfering method helps support this benefit.

Powered Case Prep Centers — What to Look For
A word of advice (often learned the hard way) — think carefully before jumping on the “latest/greatest” case prep center. One with a proven, long-time track record of durability and excellent customer support has a lot going for it, vs. the flashy “new kid on the block.” Analyze the functions each case prep center can support simultaneously — i.e., can it chamfer, deburr and clean primer pockets all at the same time, without having to re-configure?

Do the tool-heads that come with it look truly functional and durable? If not, can they be easily replaced with proven or more-needed versions, such as a VLD chamfer tool, or a solid/textured primer pocket cleaner rather than a less-durable wire-brush type?

military crimp removal USAMUTips for Priming with Progressive Presses
When re-priming, a couple of factors are worth noting. When re-priming using either single-stage presses, hand tools, or bench-mounted tools (such as the RCBS bench-mounted priming tool), precise alignment of the primer pocket entrance with the primer is easily achieved, and priming goes very smoothly. When using certain progressive presses, due to the tolerances involved in shell-heads, etc., one may occasionally encounter a primer that isn’t quite perfectly aligned with the primer pocket.

If resistance is felt when attempting to re-prime, DO NOT attempt to force the primer in — doing so can be dangerous! Rather, just exert SLIGHT upward pressure to keep the primer in contact with the case-head, and with the support hand, move the case back/forth a trifle. The primer will drop into alignment with the primer pocket, and then prime as usual. After priming, check each seated primer by feel. Ensure it is below flush with the case head (cleaning primer pockets helps here), and that there are no snags, burrs or deformed primers.


More Info on Primer Pocket Swaging
For more information about removing military crimps in primer pockets, we recommend you read Get the Crimp Out on the Squibloads Gun Thoughts Blog. This is a detailed, well-illustrated article that shows how to use various primer pocket reamers/cutters. It also has a very extensive discussion of swaging using CH4D, RCBS, and Dillon tools. The Squibloads author had much better luck with swaging tools than did the USAMU’s writer — so if you are considering swaging, definitely read the Squibloads article.

The illustration of primer pocket types is from the Squibloads Blog Article, Get the Crimp Out.

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October 30th, 2018

Hydro-Forming Cases by the Experts — DJ’s Brass

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraulic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDX
Along with these popular cartridge types, DJ’s Brass can hydro-form 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 6 BRA, 30 BR, .260 AI, .284 Shehane and other wildcats.

Do you shoot a popular wildcat (such as the 6 BRA), but hate the hassle of fire-forming all your own cartridge brass? That takes time, costs money (in bullets and powder), and consumes precious barrel life. Well there IS a better solution — you can have your new brass hydro-formed to your exact specifications for a reasonable cost.

DJ’s Brass Service now offers custom case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 30 BR, 6 BRA (BR Ackley), 6mm Grinch, 6 BRDX, 6 BRX, .260 Ackley, .284 Shehane and of course the very popular 6mm Dasher. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. For example, if you shoot a 22 Dasher, Darrell can hydro-form the cases to a 6 Dasher and then neck them down to .22 caliber. He can also turn the necks to your specs (for an additional charge).

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraultic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 PPC 6PPC 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDXDarrell is a hydro-forming wizard who has perfected the process over the last couple of years. He has learned a few special techniques along the way to ensure uniform case-forming.

Without revealing any trade secrets, we can say the Darrell has very special dies and Darrell doesn’t use a mallet or hammer — he has a system that is much more consistent. Darrell tells us: “Many of my customers take this brass and load it ‘as is’ and go straight to a match and shoot some very nice groups.”

Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 (sixty cents) per case with a minimum order of $60. Neck-turning is an additional $0.50 (fifty cents) per case plus actual return shipping. The turnaround is usually less than five days.

With Darrell’s hydro-forming service you don’t have to buy any special dies or other equipment. Darrell says: “Simply send me the brass you need or have it dropped-shipped to me along with a fired case that has not been sized. If you need formed brass for a new build (gun not yet fired), let me know and I will size the brass to fit within .001 of a PT&G GO gauge.”

For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (205) 461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending brass for processing. In a hurry, don’t have time? Just call Darrell and he’ll make something work for you.

DJs Brass hydro-forming

Hydro-Forming Customer Reports

Here are testimonials from recent customers.

“Recently had Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service hydro-form 6 BRX brass for me. The turn around time was very fast and the brass was to the exact specification I ask for. I actually shot the hydro-formed brass in a match [without further fire-forming]. It shot a 3.597″ — pretty amazing. Let DJ do the work for you!” — Mike Wilson (3 Time IBS Record Holder; 2013 and 2014 1000-yard IBS Shooter of the Year.)

“Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service went far beyond the call of duty, to assist me in preparation to shoot for my first time in an IBS match. I have had an interest in 1000-yard competition for many years and finally got the opportunity to try it. After researching the winning competitors, rifles, and rounds I ordered a Panda action with Krieger barrel in 6mm Dasher from Kelby’s. It was one week before the match and I had a rifle and no rounds. I contacted Darrell to hydraulically form 6mm dasher from Lapua 6mm BR brass. He formed the brass and had it in the mail the next day[.] Since I have only reloaded for hunting or magazine fed rifles I was not familiar with proper seating to allow land engagement of the bullets for 1000-yard accuracy. Darrell took the time to advised me every step of the way to allow me to shoot a 3.158″ (5) shot group to win my first round of my first competitive match ever.” — Mike Youngblood

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October 29th, 2018

Bargain Finder 162: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. CDNN — Winchester XPR Rifle $289.99 after $75 Rebate

Winchester XPR Rifle Rebate discount full hunting sale

We like the Winchester XPR as an affordable, entry-level hunting rifle. The three-lug bolt has a short throw, the mags seat easily and the rifle balances well. CDNN is offering the XPR for just $364.99. That’s a great price, but it gets even better. Winchester is offering a $75.00 factory rebate, lowering your net cost to just $289.99. This CDNN deal is available now for four popular chamberings: .243 Win, .308 Win, .270 Win, and .30-06 SPR. Winchester’s $75 Factory Rebate applies to any new Winchester XPR or Model 70 rifle purchased from August 1 through October 31, 2018. For more info, visit Winchester’s Trophy Season Rebate Page.

Winchester XPR Rifle Rebate discount full hunting sale

FREE SCOPE! To sweeten the deal even more, right now CDNN is offering a FREE Weaver 3-9x40mm scope with each XPR rifle sold — check it out!

2. Midsouth — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $199.99

RCBS Chargemaster Lite

Tired of weighing your charges one by one to get the accuracy you’re looking for? Midsouth has the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite electronic scale/dispenser on sale for only $199.99. This is a great chance to pick up one of the best off-the-shelf powder scale/dispensers for an excellent price. You can pay up to $260.00 elsewhere. Supplies are limited so now’s the time to buy if you’ve had the ChargeMaster Lite on your shopping list.

3. Grizzly.com — Bald Eagle Rests $165.00 – $199.95

Bald Eagle Deal front rest cast iron slingshot

Bald Eagle (by Grizzly) offers one of the best value-priced front rests on the market. We’ve seen F-Class shooters win matches with the Bald Eagle Slingshot Windage Rest, which costs less than a fifth of a premium co-axial rest. For a new shooter, this is a very cost-effective solution. One Forum member purchased this Bald Eagle BE1006 rest for his grandson, deciding it was the best rest under $300.00. Both rests shown offer a cable (with large knob) for easy windage adjustment. The Slingshot model, in cast iron or aluminum, has an elongated front leg for added stability. This also brings the Windage knob within easy reach. The aluminum version (BE1005) is considerably lighter and $35 cheaper, so it may be preferred by rimfire and varmint shooters. Note: Front sandbag sold separately.

4. Al’s — Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85mm Spotting Scope, $854.99

Vortex Razor 20-60x85mm 20x60 Spotter Sale Discount Spotting Scope

Here’s a great deal on a high-quality spotting scope from a top optics maker. AL’s Sporting Goods has last year’s model Vortex Razor 20-60x85mm spotter for only $949.99, including eyepiece. But it gets better — use Code ALS10 for another 10% off, bringing the final price down to $854.99. This is a very good spotter for the money and as Vortex will tell you, “buy a Razor now and we’ll always replace it with a Razor in the future”.

5. Cabela’s — Garmin GPSMAP 64S $199.00 on Sale

Creedmoor sports trimmer case kit platform

Cabela’s has slashed its price on the popular Garmin GPSMAP 64S unit, on sale for $199.99. This is an excellent hand-held GPS for hunters and hikers, with long battery life, good reception, and a fairly large screen. This unit features a High-Sensitivity GPS, Glonass Receiver, and Barometric Altimeter (important for your ballistics). The Garmin GPSMAP 64S is also available at Amazon.com for $220.90 with free shipping.

6. Creedmoor Sports — Wilson Trimmer Kit, $159.95

Creedmoor sports trimmer case kit platform

Here’s a slick set-up for precision case trimming. Creedmoor’s complete L.E. Wilson stainless trimmer kit features micrometer-adjustable length stop (.001″ increments), improved deluxe SS handle, and a special Creedmoor platform. The platform/mounting board can store 9 different case holders and comes with a polymer tapping block for knocking cases out of the holder. The platform also has four rubber feet. This system is also power-adaptable. The L.E. Wilson Trimmer Platform Kit is marked down to $159.95 this week. We favor this kind of system for trimming match cases.

7. Stocky’s — LR Stocks with Aluminum Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a good deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with handsome hydrographic or web-pattern baked-on textured finishes for $199.99.

8. Palmetto State Armory — 500 Rds CCI .22 LR, $16.99

CCI Blazer 40gr .22 LR 22LR rimfire ammo sale

Here is a crazy-good deal. Get 500 rounds of CCI 40gr .22 LR rimfire ammo for just $16.99. That works out to just 3.4 cents per round. But act soon. This deal on CCI Blazer rimfire ammo expires Monday October 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. If you buy five or more 500-count boxes (that’s at least 2500 rounds), you can also get free shipping.

9. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level (30mm + 1″), $11.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — almost all verified buyers have rated this five stars.

RCBS and Vortex selections by Forum member F-Class John.
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October 29th, 2018

Hybrid Bullets: How to Optimize Your Seating Depths

Berger Hybrid Bullet

SHOT Show 2017 kicks off in thre weeks in Las Vegas. While at SHOT Show next month, we plan to get the “inside scoop” on new bullet designs from Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Nosler and Sierra.

A while back, at SHOT Show 2012 we chatted with Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz about Berger’s popular line of Hybrid bullets. Berger now offers a wide range of Hybrids in multiple calibers and weights. In fact, for .30-Caliber shooters, Berger now offers many seven (7) Hybrid match bullets, with weights from 155 grains up to 230 grains. Two .338-caliber OTM Tactical Hybrids were introduced in 2012 (a 250-grainer and a 300-grainer).

Bryan tells us: “The hybrid design is Berger’s solution to the age old problem of precision vs. ease of use. This design is making life easier for handloaders as well as providing opportunities for commercial ammo loaders who need to offer a high performance round that also shoots precisely in many rifles with various chamber/throat configurations.”

For those not familiar with Hybrid bullets, the Hybrid design blends two common bullet nose shapes on the front section of the bullet (from the tip to the start of the bearing surface). Most of the curved section of the bullet has a Secant (VLD-style) ogive for low drag. This then blends in a Tangent-style ogive curve further back, where the bullet first contacts the rifling. The Tangent section makes seating depth less critical to accuracy, so the Hybrid bullet can shoot well through a range of seating depths, even though it has a very high Ballistic Coefficient (BC).

In the video we asked Bryan for recommended seating depths for 7mm and .30-Caliber Hybrid bullets. Bryan advises that, as a starting point, Hybrid bullets be seated .015″ (fifteen thousandths) off the lands in most barrels. Watch the video for more tips how to optimize your loads with Hybrid bullets.

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October 28th, 2018

What’s Up with Those Pesky Flyers?

Sierra Bullets Reloading Flier Flyer load development groups

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf
Occasionally someone will ask, “Why did I get a flyer that didn’t go in with the rest of my group?” If I had an answer that would stop flyers from happening, I would be rich.

There are many reasons why this can happen. Everything from gripping a forearm differently to variations in the brass casing, the list goes on and on. Most of the time the flyer is usually shooter induced and sometimes what you may think is a flyer, is just part of your group. There are a lot of shooters, that go out and test a load and they may shoot a 3/8” group at 100 yards and think that load is good. But I have seen far too many times that you can shoot another group, same load, same rifle and the next time you may get a 1 ¼” group.

Sierra bullets load development flyer group measurement target

The total opposite can also occur. You may shoot a 1 ¼” group and turn around and follow it with a 1/2″ group without changing anything. If you only shot the one group, you might decide that load wasn’t any good and move on to something else without really knowing what that load was capable of.

To really determine how a particular load is performing we need to shoot multiple groups and take an average of the group sizes to really see what that rifle/load combination is really capable of.

I suggest shooting a minimum of three 5-shot groups and averaging the group sizes before deciding if the load is acceptable or not. Obviously the more rounds you shoot for a group and the more groups that you shoot, you will get a much better representation of what that particular combination can do.

Now I’m not saying to go out and shoot 30 groups with 50 rounds in each group to determine how well your load is shooting. That would be a bit pointless, in some cases it would be time to re-barrel your rifle before your load development was finished.

In most cases, I feel that three to five, 5-shot groups will give you a pretty good representation of how a load will perform in that specific firearm.

Sierra Bullets reloading advice tips information

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October 27th, 2018

How to Neck-Size Cases with LEE Collet Die

LEE Precision Collet Die

For those who prefer to neck-size their brass (rather than full-length-size), the LEE Collet Die is a popular, inexpensive option. It works by having collet tangs or “fingers” press the neck against a central mandrel. The benefit is that you get a very straight neck, which is sized consistently from top to bottom. Canadian shooter Jerry Teo explains: “LEE Collet Dies produce sized cases with very low runout (measured runout is under .001″ using a Sinclair concentricity gauge). You also don’t get the build-up of brass at the base of the neck, as can happen with bushing neck dies. The neck-shoulder junction stays nice and crisp.”

LEE Precision Collet DieTIP ONE — Adjusting Tension
LEE Collet dies don’t have a specific mechanical adjustment for neck tension. But you CAN easily modify the die to provide more or less tension. If you want to adjust the neck tension using a Lee Collet die, you can simply chuck the mandrel in a drill and reduce the diameter with some sand-paper (to increase neck tension) or you can order a mandrel the next caliber larger and turn it to whatever diameter you want (the larger the mandrel diameter, the less the neck tension). You can also order custom mandrels from Lee sized to any diameter you want.

Regarding neck tension, Boyd Allen makes an important point: “The only way to properly get more neck tension with collet dies is to either reduce the diameter of the mandrel, or order a smaller-diameter mandrel from Lee. I remind folks that adjusting the die position to have more toggle at the top of the ram stroke (not the factory recommended method), or leaning on the press handle with more force than recommended will NOT increase neck tension.”

Lee also offers Custom Collet Dies, made from two fired cases. Lee offers custom standard collet dies for $70.00 (plus S/H) and custom large collet dies for $160.00 (plus S/H). CLICK HERE to ORDER.

TIP TWO — Polish and Tune for Easy Case Removal
Some users have complained that their Collet Dies grab the case-neck too firmly, making the case hard to remove. There are solutions to this problem. First inspect the collet fingers and smooth the inner surface up a bit with polishing compound or an extra-fine sanding pad. Second, you can open up the fingers a little bit. LEE recommends that if your Collet Die is sticking, take a steel punch and tap the fingers apart a little bit so that the natural “unloaded” position is wider. Lastly, you should lightly lubricate the outside of the collet fingers (see arrows) before you re-assemble the die. This will ensure they slide smoothly. Also, to prevent the collet fingers from closing too tight, never load up the die with your press without putting a case in place first. Without a case neck between the collet fingers and the mandrel, the collet can clamp itself too tight as you raise the ram.

TIP THREE — Always Have a Case Inside When Operating Collet Die
Our friend Boyd Allen tells us that you need to follow directions and NEVER operate the die without a case inside. Boyd explains: “This is because doing so will spring the quadrents of the collet inward so that they interfere with the insertion of a case, and the user will have to figure out how to undo the damage if the die is to operate properly. This advice would not be needed if everyone read the instructions before using the die…. but many times, they don’t. Another thing that I tell new users is to take the die apart so that they will have a better chance of understanding how it works.”

TIP FOUR — Size Twice and Spin Your Case 1/8th Turn
After reaching fully “down” on your press handle, withdraw the case about an inch and manually rotate it about 1/8th (NOT 1/4 or 1/2) turn while still in the shell-holder, then size again. This will place the die’s collet petals on the four “high spots” of the case neck and will result in a rounder, more evenly-sized neck with slightly more bullet tension. This takes only about one second more per case and is well worth the slight extra effort. (We thank reader Stonecreek for this smart tip).

Here’s a good video that explains how to use a Lee Collet Die to Neck-Size .243 Win brass:

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October 26th, 2018

Stick, Flake, and Ball — Do You Know Your Powder Properties?

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener’s Reloading & Shooting Supply recently published a helpful introduction to reloading powders. Widener’s online Guide to Smokeless Powders shows the various types of powders, and explains how the differences in powder kernel/flake size and shape, and burn rate affect performance. We recommend you visit Widener’s website and read the Powder Guide in full.

Take a close look at these illustrations which show the key differences between the four main powder types: extruded (stick) powder, ball (spherical) powder, flattened ball powder, and flake powder.

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Widener's Reloading Smokeless Powder propellant Guide

Burn Rate Basics

Widener’s Guide to Smokeless Powders also has a useful discussion of Burn Rate (a confusing topic for many hand-loaders). Wideners explains: “While a gun powder explosion in the cartridge seems instantaneous, if you slow it down you will actually find that each powder has a different ‘burn rate’, or speed at which it ignites.” This video shows powders with two very different burn rates. Watch closely.

Different burn rates suit different cartridge types notes Widener’s: “In general a fast-burning powder is used for light bullets and low-speed pistols and shotguns. Medium-rate powders are used for magnum pistols, while high-velocity, large bore rifle cartridges will need slow powders[.]

It should be noted that burn rate does not have a standardized unit of measurement. In fact, burn rate is really only discussed in comparison to other powders; there is no universal yardstick. Specifics will change by cartridge and bullet types[.]”

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October 25th, 2018

Cartridges of the World — Great 680-Page Resource

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of the World (15th Edition), belongs in every serious gun guy’s library. This massive 680-page reference contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (release date 10/24/2016) includes 50 new cartridges and boasts 1500+ photos. This printed reference guide is $30.20 at Amazon.com, while a Kindle eBook version costs $19.99.

The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes cartridge specs, plus tech articles on Cartridge identification, SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. In scope and level of detail, Cartridges of the World is the most complete cartridge reference guide in print. Cartridges of the World now includes a 64-page full-color section with feature articles, including an interesting feature on the .300 Win Mag.

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

(more…)

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October 24th, 2018

Tech Tip: Don’t Store Brass and Ammo Near Ammonia Solvents

Ammonia Solvent Brass Cracking MTM

Chances are that many of you have packed away your ammo and shooting supplies for the winter. Maybe you put your brass in a storage bin that might also contain solvents, old rags, or used bore swabs. Well, if you use any ammonia-based solvents, we suggest you separate the brass and ammo and keep it away from potential ammonia vapors. This is because long-term exposure to ammonia fumes can cause cracks to form in your brass. This can lead to case ruptures and possible injury.

This case-cracking phenomenon has been called Season Cracking, a form of stress-corrosion cracking of brass cartridge cases. Season cracking is characterized by deep brittle cracks which penetrate into affected components. If the cracks reach a critical size, the component can suddenly fracture, sometimes with disastrous results. If the concentration of ammonia is very high, then corrosion is much more severe, and damage over all exposed surfaces occurs. The brass cracking is caused by a reaction between ammonia and copper that forms the cuprammonium ion, Cu(NH3)4, a chemical complex which is water-soluble. The problem of cracking can also occur in copper and copper alloys such as bronze.

Season Cracking was originally observed by the British forces in India a century ago. During the monsoon season, military activity was reduced, and ammunition was stored in stables until the dry weather returned. Many brass cartridges were subsequently found to be cracked, especially where the case was crimped to the bullet. In 1921, in the Journal of the Institute of Metals, the phenomenon was explained by Moor, Beckinsale, and Mallinson. Apparently ammonia from horse urine, combined with the residual stress in the cold-drawn metal of the cartridges, was responsible for the cracking.

Ammonia Solvent Brass Cracking MTM
Don’t store ammunition (or brass) for long periods in a box or container holding ammoniated solvents:

The Australia Department of Defense (AUSDOD) has also explored the problem of brass cracking caused, at least in part, by exposure to ammonia. A study was done to see whether the amount of cracking (from ammonia exposure) varied according to the duration and temperature of the annealing process used on the brass. CLICK HERE to read AUSDOD Research Report.

Story idea from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
October 23rd, 2018

Great Book: Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting Vol. 2

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-order

If you buy one book about Long Range Shooting, this should be it. Based on sophisticated testing and research, this 356-page hardcover from Applied Ballistics offers important insights you won’t find anywhere else. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting – Volume II, the latest treatise from Bryan Litz, is chock full of information, much of it derived through sophisticated field testing. As Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets (and a trained rocket scientist), author Bryan Litz is uniquely qualified. Bryan is also an ace sling shooter and a past F-TR National Champion. Moreover, Bryan’s company, Applied Ballistics, has been a leader in the Extreme Long Range (ELR) discipline.

AUDIO FILE: Bryan Litz Talks about Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Volume 2. (Sound file loads when you click button).

Volume II of Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting ($39.95) contains all-new content derived from research by Applied Ballistics. Author Bryan Litz along with contributing authors Nick Vitalbo and Cal Zant use the scientific method and careful testing to answer important questions faced by long range shooters. In particular, this volume explores the subject of bullet dispersion including group convergence. Advanced hand-loading subjects are covered such as: bullet pointing and trimming, powder measurement, flash hole deburring, neck tension, and fill ratio. Each topic is explored with extensive live fire testing, and the resulting information helps to guide hand loaders in a deliberate path to success. The current bullet library of measured G1 and G7 ballistic coefficients is included as an appendix. This library currently has data on 533 bullets in common use by long range shooters.

Bryan tells us that one purpose of this book is to dispel myths and correct commonly-held misconceptions: “Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting aims to end the misinformation which is so prevalent in long range shooting. By applying the scientific method and taking a Myth Buster approach, the state of the art is advanced….”

Bullet Dispersion and Group Convergence
Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-order

Part 1 of this Volume is focused on the details of rifle bullet dispersion. Chapter 1 builds a discussion of dispersion and precision that every shooter will benefit from in terms of understanding how it impacts their particular shooting application. How many shots should you shoot in a group? What kind of 5-shot 100 yard groups correlate to average or winning precision levels in 1000 yard F-Class shooting?

Chapter 2 presents a very detailed investigation of the mysterious concept of group convergence, which is the common idea that some guns can shoot smaller (MOA) groups at longer ranges. This concept is thoroughly tested with extensive live fire, and the results answer a very important question that has baffled shooters for many generations.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Modern Advancements Volume 2 II testing pre-orderPart 2 of this Volume is focused on various aspects of advanced hand-loading. Modern Advancements (Vol. II) employs live fire testing to answer the important questions that precision hand loaders are asking. What are the best ways to achieve MVs with low ES and SD? Do flash hole deburring, neck tension, primer selection, and fill ratio and powder scales sensitivity make a difference and how much? All of these questions are explored in detail with a clear explanation of test results.

One of the important chapters of Part 2 examines bullet pointing and trimming. Applied Ballistics tested 39 different bullet types from .224 through .338 caliber. Ten samples of each bullet were tested for BC in each of the following configurations: original out of the box, pointed, trimmed, pointed and trimmed. The effect on the average BC as well as the uniformity in BC was measured and tabulated, revealing what works best.

Part 3 covers a variety of general research topics. Contributing author Nick Vitalbo, a laser technology expert, tested 22 different laser rangefinders. Nick’s material on rangefinder performance is a landmark piece of work. Nick shows how shooters can determine the performance of a rangefinder under various lighting conditions, target sizes, and reflectivities.

Chapter 9 is a thorough analysis of rimfire ammunition. Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets, 2nd Edition presented live fire data on 95 different types of .22 rimfire ammunition, each tested in five different barrels having various lengths and twist rates. Where that book just presented the data, Chapter 9 of this book offers detailed analysis of all the test results and shows what properties of rimfire ammunition are favorable, and how the BCs, muzzle velocities and consistency of the ammo are affected by the different barrels.

Chapter 10 is a discussion of aerodynamic drag as it relates to ballistic trajectory modeling. You will learn from the ground up: what an aerodynamic drag model is, how it’s measure and used to predict trajectories. Analysis is presented which shows how the best trajectory models compare to actual measured drop in the real world.

Finally, contributing author Cal Zant of the Precision Rifle Blog presents a study of modern carbon fiber-wrapped barrels in Chapter 11. The science and technology of these modern rifle barrels is discussed, and then everything from point of impact shift to group sizes are compared for several samples of each type of barrel including standard steel barrels.

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October 23rd, 2018

Primer Crater Cure — Firing Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Crater moon primers greg tannel bushing firing pinCraters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer. A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Firing Pin Hole Bushing Service INFO »

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and he does excellent work on a wide variety of bolts. Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $80.00, or $88.00 with USPS Priority Mail return shipping.

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. CLICK that Box.

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushingFiring Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems
Price: $80.00 + $8.00 return shipping
Total Price: $88.00

Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage multi-piece pin, Sako, Kimber, Nesika, Stiller, BAT Machine, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, Ruger, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol.

Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: Case hardened receivers, ARs, Accuracy International (AI), Barnard, Big Horn, Cooper, Desert Tactical Arms, Kimber, Rosenthal, New Savage single piece pin, Rim fires, Falling block, Break open, Lever, Pump rifles, 1903-A3, CZ, Mauser.

How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
You can send your bolt snail mail, priority mail, or UPS (Please do not use FEDEX as it sometimes has delivery delays). Pack your bolt carefully and ship to: Gre’-Tan Rifles, 24005 Hwy. 13, Rifle CO 81650. Please include your name, phone number, and return shipping address.

Due to the high volume of work, turn around is 5 to 8 weeks on bushing a bolt. Three or more bolts will be sent back to you UPS and we will have to calculate shipping. We can overnight them at your expense. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card. For more information visit GretanRifles.com.

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